Bibliography by Weslina Hung

“Dystopias: Definition and Characteristics” Read Write Think. 2006. Nov. 3, 2013.



This short handout neatly summarizes dystopias, their characteristics, the different types, and even gives some information about a typical protagonist of a dystopian work. It highlights four possible types of genres of dystopias, as well as providing popular culture examples of those dystopias. This abstract of dystopias is useful as it provides us with a very concise yet general idea of what typical dystopias are like, as defined by others. The bulletpoints of typical characteristics of dystopias will be extremely useful in our creation of a CYOA, as we will have to work to ensure that our dystopias also include these characteristics. We should also keep in mind how the dystopian protagonist feels, in order to create an environment that would incite similar emotions or feelings in readers/players of “Darker Paths,” our choose your own adventure.


Claeys, Gregory. “News from Somewhere: Enhanced Sociability and the Composite Definition of Utopia and Dystopia.” The Journal of the Historical Association. Wiley Online Library. 8 APR 2013. Net. Nov 3, 2013


This rather long article addresses how the definitions of “dystopia” and “utopia” are generally applied to only literary works about either perfect societies, or seemingly perfect, yet actually terrible, societies. Claeys argues that this definition should apply to not only literature, but also ideologies and real-life communal movements. In the real world, there are many different kinds of societies and cultures, and the terms dystopia and utopia can be applied to many of them, as a spectrum, per se. Utopias are connected to teamwork and friendship, a communual sort of living style, whereas dystopias would be more totalitarian and fearful. In addition to this, the article also distinguishes the difference between true utopias and true dystopias.


McAlear, Rob. Interdisciplinary Humanities. Fall2010, Vol. 27 Issue 2, p24-42. 19p. 2 Diagrams. Article. Nov 4, 2013


Analyzes dystopian texts, and their connections to historical events. “Dystopian texts are always situated with regard to history, and in being so, are both a projection and a redescription of the reader’s moment in accordance with a hierarchy of values.” The text shows how dystopian texts play with reader’s genuine fears of possible real life situations, even while being set in very theoretical, far-fetched environments. This article also takes many influential or famous utopian or dystopian texts, and analyzes them, categorizing them into further subcategories, such as “critical anti-utopia.” McAlear examines dystopian and utopian texts rhetorically, and how their language, and their balancing of instilling fear but leaving a small glimmer of hope, and its effects on readers.




Barilleaux, Ryan J. “Dystopia and the Gospel of Life.” Catholic Social Science Review. 2012, Vol. 17, p259-272. 14p. Nov 4, 2013.


Talks about two twentieth century dystopian works, Brave New World and The Thanatos Syndrome, in relation to new scientific advances, and the balance between religion, culture, and culture. Barilleaux first summarizes the two stories, the forms of dystopias they take, and the society that the dystopians are in. He then analyzes dystopias in general and their portrayals. He says that dystopias are based on three basic assumptions; utopias are unachievable, there is no single social, political, or economic order that will please everyone or make everyone happy, and that any attempts to create a utopia will lead to disaster or failure. He also goes to say that there is no single vision of a utopia as an extension of the second rule that there is no pleasing everyone. Barilleaux also goes on to examine features that are common to all dystopias, such as regimented society, dehumanization, abuse of technology, state terror, the tragedy of the individual, the new class, and the role of propoganda.


Hickman, John. “When Science Fiction Writers Used Fictional Drugs: Rise and Fall of the Twentieth Century Drug Dystopia” Utopian Studies. 2009. Vol. 20 Issue 1, p141-170, 30p.


This piece analyzes specifically novels in the drug (pharmacological) dystopia genre published from 1932 to 1980. These works became common because of the boom in technological advances in the medical field, as new vaccines, pills, and treatments are discovered. With these advancements also comes fears of the abuse of these new discoveries, and the change in society that comes with them. Hickman concentrates on the specific fictional drugs that shape the societies of the dystopian literatures, and their significance and what they represent in the real world. It also reasons why this subgenre’s popularity has passed, and why their warnings seem so insignificant today.